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crazybatcow

I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)

East Coast, Canada | Member Since 2007

1806
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 269 reviews
  • 375 ratings
  • 837 titles in library
  • 65 purchased in 2014
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  • Stolen Souls: A Jack Lennon Investigation

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Stuart Neville
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (147)
    Performance
    (124)
    Story
    (128)

    Galya Petrova travels to Ireland on a promise that she will work for a nice Russian family, teaching their children English. Instead, she is dragged into the world of modern slavery, sold to a Belfast brothel, and held there against her will. She escapes at a terrible cost - the slaying of one of her captors - and takes refuge with a man who offers his help. But her savior is not what he seems....

    Deborah says: "Strong Third Chapter"
    "Dark, suspenseful, believable-what more is wanted?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked it better than the first Jack Lennon book - this is partly because by reading the earlier book I was more familiar with Jack and could relate to his tribulations a bit better, and it was partly because this story is more realistic. (And, it was partly because I had actually read Collusion because I thought it was about Gerry Fagan and was disappointed that it was not; in Stolen Souls I knew it was about Jack from the outset.)

    Okay... maybe this story isn't really more realistic, it is just that there is no character with 'super human' abilities in this one. The bad guys are a bit far-fetched, but the basic premise is believable. It seems as though the author wanted us to like Jack more and tried to make him seem more human here (i.e. he contemplates the moral repercussions of his prostitute visits)... but I think Neville should just stick to writing engaging violent thrillers and give up trying to write 'sappy'. We like these novels because they are dark and to the point, not because we want to know if the main character has an emotional epiphany.

    Like the earlier novels, it is set in Ireland, but this time there is no reference to the political turmoil that country has undergone. I think this improves the thriller component of the novel since we North Americans don't have to figure out if the tension is based on religion or politics that are foreign.

    It is violent, but not gory, and the underlying theme is dark and unpleasant. There is no sex, and there is some foul language, but it was not excessive. I will read more by this author, and more books about Jack Lennon. The narration is excellent, though it is read with a pretty thick Irish accent throughout which might take some getting used to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Monster: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By A. Lee Martinez
    • Narrated By Eric Michael Summerer
    Overall
    (575)
    Performance
    (495)
    Story
    (492)

    Meet Monster. Meet Judy. Two humans who don't like each other much, but together must fight dragons, fire-breathing felines, trolls, Inuit walrus dogs, and a crazy cat lady - for the future of the universe.

    Charles says: "Entertaining, but Overly Rushed"
    "Comic fantasy - for those who like slapstick"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ummmm... I couldn't finish it.

    I suppose it is meant to be funny, or maybe there is some hidden 'message' in it... but I didn't see the humor, or get the message.

    It was a series of incrementally dumber 'monster' contacts where people get squished or burnt, or whatever, in comical ways, and then recover from whatever the mutilation was. It is very childish... and some scenes are just plain dumb. Like the winged horse scene that eventually develops into the main character being sucked into a giant worm - it has absolutely no purpose but to allow the author to let his imagination flow, and add some potentially icky scenes (I say "potentially icky" because in my world, it is really only children who are amused by slime in the way this author seems to be).

    Nearer the end there seems to be some over-arching storyline that, maybe, is meant to explain all the foolishness. But, sorry, the lame stereotype old witch and a 'universe in a stone' was just too much for me.

    And, no, it is not urban fantasy; urban fantasy is supposed to be mature, and possibly a bit on the dark side. This book is a comic fantasy... in the manner that you would expect a story in a children's/comic book to be.

    The narration is okay. There is nothing graphic in the book, and I don't think there is much swearing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Stealing Light: Shoal, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Gary Gibson
    • Narrated By Charlie Norfolk
    Overall
    (149)
    Performance
    (131)
    Story
    (132)

    In the 25th century, only the Shoal possess the secret of faster-than-light travel (FTL), giving them absolute control over all trade and exploration throughout the galaxy. Mankind has operated within their influence for two centuries, establishing a dozen human colony worlds scattered along Shoal trade routes. Dakota Merrick, while serving as a military pilot, has witnessed atrocities for which this alien race is responsible.

    C. Hartmann says: "Cool character & plot ! Do you like Chase Colpath?"
    "Just not good or distinct enough to compete"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's a moderately hard sci-fi... not much time is spent developing relationships or on character development. In fact, so little time is spent on characterization that it is very difficult to tell most of the main male characters apart. (There is only one female character so nobody to get her mixed up with, but she isn't even very different from the males...)

    There are some alien life-forms, but they aren't really explored very much, other than brief interjections when they are the stimulant to cause the humans to do something... when their interventions are needed to motivate a character, they appear, then they conveniently drop out of the story until next time they are needed.

    I didn't like the story very much, nor the characters, and even the sci-fi part of it wasn't very engaging or original. And some parts seemed choppy, almost like the book was abridged - occasionally the transitions were sudden and unexpected. I won't be reading any more in this series, and it is unlikely I'd read more by this author... his writing just isn't distinct enough to choose over all the other books out there.

    The narration is okay. It is non-graphic and I don't think there is any swearing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Bayou Moon: The Edge, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Ilona Andrews
    • Narrated By Renée Raudman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (885)
    Performance
    (627)
    Story
    (634)

    When her parents vanish, Cerise's clan's long-time rivals are suspects number one. But all is not as it seems. Two nations of the Weird are waging a cold war, and their conflict is about to spill over into the Edge - and Cerise's life. William, a changeling soldier who left behind the politics of the Weird, has been forced back into service to track down a rival nation's spymaster. When William's and Cerise cross paths, sparks fly - but they'll have to work together if they want to succeed…and survive.

    Angela says: "Great!!!"
    "Unrelated story set in same world as book 1"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Firstly... I didn't realize this book, while book 2 in the series, has nothing to do with book one. It is set in the same world, and there are a couple references to the characters in book one, but the story follows a new couple, who have a new set of concerns and problems. There is no Rose or Declan here.

    Otherwise, it is pretty much the same quality storyline, plot and pacing. I'm not sure the romance is quite as good and the sex scene (only one) is not as graphic as in the first book. There are some interesting characters here though, and the world is more fully explained - mostly the Edge and the Weird, not much time is spent in the Broken.

    I think the "bad guys" are a bit too extreme though, and almost feel cartoonish. I don't mind fantasy components, but would prefer it remain mature and not devolve into the "monster under the bed" type horror. Overall, however, I liked it, and ended up buying the next book in the series as soon as I finished this one.

    The narration is the same as book one. She is fine, but not the best reader I've heard. There is minimal swearing, and nothing very graphic. I did buy the next book from Audible, but there is no cliff hanger, so you don't have to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: The Official Movie Novelization

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Alex Irvine
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel
    Overall
    (239)
    Performance
    (227)
    Story
    (224)

    A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth's dominant species.

    AudioBookReviewer says: "retelling of a classic tale"
    "As good as, or maybe better than the movie"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I never... well... almost never, now... read a book after seeing the movie. In this case, I bought this book and then forgot about it. Then went to see the movie one day, on a lark. Several weeks later I saw this book again and realized I had just watched the movie (yeah, slow on the uptake sometimes).

    I actually quite enjoyed it, even after having seen the movie. I would say it was close to the story line of the movie, but since it was the novelization of the movie, I guess this is a no-brainer. The part I did like about the book was the insight to what was going on in the characters' minds - in the movie we don't get to hear their thoughts, so have to determine from posture and words what is going on in their heads. There are a couple significant scenes where what was in their heads according to the novel was not the same as what I had seen on the screen... a sign of the actor's abilities no doubt.

    It is a fast and not overly deep read... if you like the series, you`ll probably like this book. The narration is very good. There is nothing graphic or gory in it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • On the Edge: The Edge, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Ilona Andrews
    • Narrated By Renée Raudman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1405)
    Performance
    (1000)
    Story
    (1013)

    Rose Drayton lives on the Edge, between the world of the Broken (where people drive cars, shop at Wal-Mart, and magic is a fairy tale) and the Weird (where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny). Only Edgers like Rose can easily travel from one world to the next, but they never truly belong in either.

    Stephanie says: "Refreshing"
    "Reviews are misleading: a very good urban fantasy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I got this book a couple years ago and just got around to reading it last week. I read the reviews before I started it and didn't really have high expectations, based on those reviews.

    Hmmm... I don't know what those others are reading that made them think this book is less than a 4 for its genre. It is an urban fantasy with a female protagonist who is not weak and whiny - that in itself makes this book exceptional. The fact that there was also a story, some character development and some believable romantic angst just bumps it upward.

    There isn't much sex, but what there is was well-done and believable. The story was reasonable, and, while maybe the bad guy scenes were a bit over-long, they were okay too. The only thing I would note as a drawback to the story was how William felt very much like an 'add-on' - and his role in the story as it relates to Rose was way more 'weighty' than it should have been, given how little time passes.

    But, ultimately, as soon as I finished this book (yesterday), I bought the next in the series from Audible and am starting it today. The narration is good - she does seem to over emphasize sometimes, but overall she does a good job. There is no graphic violence, a little bit of somewhat detailed (but short) sex and minimal swearing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Pump Six and Other Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Paolo Bacigalupi
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Eileen Stevens, James Chen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (191)
    Performance
    (135)
    Story
    (134)

    Paolo Bacigalupi's debut collection demonstrates the power and reach of the science-fiction short story. Social criticism, political parable, and environmental advocacy lie at the center of Paolo's work. Each of the stories herein is at once a warning and a celebration of the tragic comedy of the human experience.

    Noah says: "Unrelentingly brutal, brilliantly imaginative"
    "Nice collection of well written short stories"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Considering that, for the most part, I don't like short stories, this was an exceptionally well-written, interesting and original collection. I have read some of Bacigalupi's works before (Wind Up Girl comes to mind), and I like the dark, depressing future bio-tech world the author has created. All these stories are set in the same world - or, if not the exact same, the same type of world - and they almost feel related, even though they all have separate plots and characters... it is the tone, pacing, and bio-tech I guess, that makes it feel like a single story.

    I enjoyed some stories more than others, but as the ones I enjoyed the most are not the same ones that other reviewers enjoyed, I guess that is personal taste. Essentially, though, they are all clearly written by the same author and if you like the first story in the book, you should like all of them well enough. The stage is the same, just the actual characters change.

    The stories have different narrators, and, while all of them are at least good, some of them are better narrators than others. I don't think you'll find any of them off-putting though. The stories are dark but not graphic or gory.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Zombies of Lake Woebegotton

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Harrison Geillor
    • Narrated By Phil Gigante
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (194)
    Performance
    (153)
    Story
    (154)

    The town of Lake Woebegotton, MN is a small town, filled with ordinary (yet above average) people, leading ordinary lives. Ordinary, that is, until the dead start coming back to life, with the intent to feast upon the living! Now this small town of above average citizens must overcome their petty rivalries and hidden secrets in order to survive an onslaught of the dead.

    Cidney says: "Why is no one making a movie out of this?"
    "Even better if the humour resonates with you"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I started this book once and put it down because the first few pages simply didn't engage me. I thought the first character/scene was a bad choice to start a book with, and it seemed that it was setting a tone (almost humorous) that I didn't think fit the concept (zombies)...

    Then I picked it up again and forced myself through the first chapter and, suddenly, found that it was actually a pretty decent zombie novel. It retained a strange sense of humour throughout which I didn't quite "get", but that might be because I have no idea what rural Wisconsin is like. And I have never met in real life anyone who was anything like the majority of characters in the novel.

    But, all that aside... it was well-written, with a nice bit of suspense, and a home-grown bad guy to boot. So the story wasn't actually about zombies taking over the world (what zombie books are usually about), but more of how a small town comes together in the face of crisis (which is, incidentally, zombies in this case, but could have been any wide scale crisis). Ultimately I enjoyed it, and suspect I would have liked it even more, if the humour/characters had resonated with me a bit more.

    The narration is good. There is some swearing but it is not excessive and there is no real gore or graphic violence.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Michelle Alexander
    • Narrated By Karen Chilton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (483)
    Performance
    (420)
    Story
    (420)

    In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. Yet, as legal star Michelle Alexander reveals, today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against convicted criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans.

    Jeremy says: "An essential read. A horrifying reality."
    "Perhaps it is more about poverty than race..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In a way it is too bad the author aligned the book so closely to Jim Crow and brought the argument forward only in terms of racism. The argument really should have less to do with racism than with poverty and a lack of hope.

    Yes, more blacks are in jail than other races, especially considering the racial makeup in America. Yes, the prison and policing systems are money making engines. Yes, the war on drugs is a lost cause. And, yes, probably, it was all sculpted to be the way it is.

    But that doesn't change the fact that it is the abject poverty and lack of hope or opportunities that is the source of the problem. Born poor and inner city, raised on the streets, attending sub-standard schools, not having any realistic hope of ever pulling yourself or your family out of it... that is the problem. If people had hope and opportunity, they would not turn to drugs or crime, and they would not get a criminal record which further condemns them to a life of poverty.

    Changing post-prison reception or perception is not the solution. Crushing the process that impoverishes entire segments of the popluation is the solution. End the abject poverty, show some light at the end of the tunnel, and millions of boys turning to men will not be committing crimes simply to survive.

    The narration is fine. There is a specific phrase that is repeated pretty much every chapter which was a bit annoying and redundant, but... I suppose that was the writer's thesis. It was educational enough, but probably too narrowly focused to see the real problem.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dead Eye: A Gray Man Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Mark Greaney
    • Narrated By Jay Snyder
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2353)
    Performance
    (2106)
    Story
    (2126)

    Ex-CIA master assassin Court Gentry has always prided himself on his ability to disappear at will, to fly below the radar and exist in the shadows - to survive as the near-mythical Gray Man. But when he takes revenge upon a former employer who betrayed him, he exposes himself to something he’s never had to face before. A killer who is just like him. Code-named Dead Eye, Russell Whitlock is a graduate of the same ultra-secret Autonomous Asset Program that trained and once controlled Gentry.

    Julius Butcher says: "Fits well into the series"
    "Guns and deception = suspense and butt-kicking"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ahh... some butt-kicking mind candy.

    No deep morals here, no lectures, just lots of guns and deception.

    It is probably the best of the Grey Man series... the author has matured, and his characters' actions have become more realistic.

    It is not truly a vigilante justice story because the good guys are not really good guys, and the bad guys are not really bad guys, and there isn't really anyone you'll want 'punished' for their bad behaviour. But it does have lots of action, a bit of suspense, decent characters, and a solid wrap up.

    You won't need to have read the others in the series to read this one. The author doesn't really repeat parts from the other books either, so if you did read them, you won't see much of them repeated here - it is a new story. And while it is not Lee Child's Jack Reacher, it is a decent fill in.

    The narration is very good, there is some swearing, some non graphic, mostly gun-related violence, and no sex.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Remaining

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By D. J. Molles
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel
    Overall
    (2135)
    Performance
    (2004)
    Story
    (2011)

    In a steel-and-lead-encased bunker 20 feet below the basement level of his house, a soldier waits for his final orders. On the surface, a plague ravages the planet, infecting over 90% of the populace. The bacterium burrows through the brain, destroying all signs of humanity and leaving behind little more than base, prehistoric instincts. The infected turn into hyper-aggressive predators, with an insatiable desire to kill and feed. Someday soon, the soldier will have to open the hatch to his bunker, and step out into this new wasteland, to complete his mission....

    Mike Naka says: "top notch! highly recommended!"
    "Better than expected, except for how it ended"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I will start by mentioning the thing that bothered me the most about this book: it just stops. Reading along and... suddenly it is over. There was no real indication that there was an end coming up. Doesn't mean that it was not a logical place to stop, just that there was no real build up and denoument that lead me to think the end of the book was coming.

    Other than that, it was a reasonably well-written zombie novel. Yes, it works with the standard clichés and the characters are pretty run-of-the-mill. But there is some satisfying vigilante action, some zombie action, and some militant faction action.

    What more do you want from a short and quick read? It ain't literature folks, it's a zombie book. And a relatively well written one for that. I will read more in the series.

    The narration is good, there is some swearing, no sex and the violence isn't graphic.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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